Elements of Shakespeare Comedies - Twelfth Night   View Details   Create a Copy

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

During a ship wreck two twins, Viola and Sebastian, are separated at sea. While Viola is swept to land, she fears that her brother is dead. Being with no friends in a strange place she tries to find work. She is first told of the house of Lady Olivia however, Olivia is in not accepting visitors nor strangers because she is mourning the loss of her brother. This leads Viola to dress like a boy so that she may find work in the king’s court; Viola takes on the name of Cesario and gets a job working for Duke Orsino.

She quickly becomes the favorite of the Duke and the feeling is more than mutual. Although she is dressed like a boy, she falls in love with Orsino. However, one day she learns that he is in love with Lady Olivia and he sends Cesario to her with a letter. When she gets there Lady Olivia fall instantly in love with her, Viola, who is dressed up as Cesario.

Meanwhile, the audience learns that Sebastian is still alive and being cared for by a sworn enemy to Duke Orsino, Antonio. Sebastian believes his sister is dead however, he makes his way into Orsino’s territory.

Back in town the love triangle is in full turmoil as Sir Andrew, another man who is also interested in Lady Olivia, notices Olivia’s attraction to Cesario and challenges him/her to a duel. However, Sebastian then shows up in town, unfortunately for him, at that moment he looks like his sister who is dressed as a boy and chaos ensues when their identities are mistaken. Antonio is arrested and confuses Cesario for Sebastian, thinking he will help him get out of jail. Then, Lady Olivia asks for Sebastian’s hand in marriage thinking he is Cesario, and Sir Andrew tries to fight the wrong man.

Soon Viola realizes that her brother may still be alive and is confirmed when she and the Duke go to Lady Olivia’s house and Lady Olivia introduces her new husband; who is none other than Sebastian. At first the Duke is upset; however, Cesario reveals that she is really Viola and the Duke falls in love with her.



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